“Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait. The grip of your hand and the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas.”- Henry Ford
The Longman dictionary describes enthusiasm as a ‘strong feeling of interest and enjoyment’. An online site on the subject of Enthusiasm also notes that the word ENTHUSIASM has its root in the Greek language, and literally means “the God (entheo) inside (iasm)”. The etymology of the word thus points at its divine origin. (www.theenthusiasm.com/en/enthousiasme)
Taking a cue from Henry Ford’s quote above, enthusiasm is that ‘thing’ which makes your eyes sparkle; makes you leap with joy and gives you the energy to go after your dreams. Putting all these together, I would therefore describe Enthusiasm as ‘that strong feeling you get deep within you to pursue something you are passionate about, without considering the limitations around you’. One man in the bible who displayed this strong virtue is called Zaccaheus as found in Luke 19: 1-10.
The first verse in the Bible passage mentioned above says…’And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho’ (Luke 19:1). In essence, Christ was on his way to a particular destination, (Jerusalem) and was merely passing through Jericho. It was clear he had no prior plans to stay back in Jericho. Before now, the Lord Jesus Christ had passed through Jericho on more than one occasion. It was there that he miraculously healed blind Bartimeaus in Mark 10:46-52. Zacchaeus had probably heard about Jesus and the various miracles he had performed in the past and had developed a strong desire to see Jesus one day. As a result of this strong desire and the way he pursued what he was passionate about, he had an encounter with Jesus that changed his life forever. Interestingly, despite his enthusiasm, Zacchaeus had a couple of limitations that should have made his meeting with Jesus almost impossible!
- Zaccaheus was limited by his profession. The Bible calls him a Chief tax collector. The Jews despised and hated men like him. They believed that tax collectors were on the side of the Romans who at that time were oppressing them. This was understandably so, since the tax collectors themselves were callous and mean, since they made their profit from any extra taxes they could get from the people. As a result of this, they exploited the people and so the people never wanted anything to do with them.
- He was limited by his status. In Luke 19:2, he was referred to as “rich”. At that time, the larger percentage of the people who followed Jesus was poor. As a result of this, the few rich ones amongst them were generally classified, and seen as ‘sinners’. There was a clear-cut class distinction between them. To this effect, whenever a rich man showed up in a gathering, the common man perceived him wrongly and felt offended by his presence.
- He was limited by his stature– Zacchaeus was referred to in Luke 19:3, as a man of short stature (or little stature). He was so short that he could not catch a glimpse of Jesus in the midst of the crowd, as he would have been lost in the crowd.
Despite his limitations, Zaccaheus concluded that nothing would stop him from pursuing his dream and reaching his goal. How did he do this? He took a step of faith; ran ahead and climbed into a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus.
Are you surrounded by too many limitations and you have concluded that it is impossible to pursue your dreams? Are you wondering about what you can do to fire your enthusiasm? Then, it is time to learn some life lessons from this pint sized man called Zacchaeus…
1) Have a strong desire for what you want- Many times, we do not actually take time to think of what exactly it is we want. As a result of this certain opportunities come our way that we hardly ever notice. It was clear that Zacchaeus must have heard about Christ and all his amazing works and teachings. The moment he heard that Jesus was passing through his territory, he concluded that this was the opportunity he had been waiting for.
2) Develop a clear picture of what you desire– What are your dreams, your goals, your aspirations? Take time to prayerfully think through every aspect of your life. Then, develop and document clear pictures in your mind of your desired outcomes in these areas. For instance, do you see yourself carrying your babies, though doctors have tagged you barren? Do you see yourself getting married one day despite your delay in marriage? Zaccaheus’ plan must have been not just to hear about Jesus, but to see Jesus also. He decided that he would not just be satisfied with merely hearing about him or hearing his voice. The picture he had formed in his mind was to see the face of Jesus and even probably, have a direct contact with him!
3) Identify the factors that limit you- Once you have determined what you want, it is time to sit down and list out what you believe will limit you in the pursuit of these goals. For instance, do you desire certain positions at work or certain opportunities in life, but you believe you are being limited by your educational background or your family background, your experiences, your economic status and so on? Zaccaheus identified his limitations- his profession, his status and his stature and he set out to do something about this.
4) Develop a strategy on how to overcome these limitations- No matter the limitations around you; you have got to believe that there will always be a way out. Zacchaeus refused to be tied down by the things limiting him; he focused on what he desired- The desire not to only hear Jesus, but to also see him. He was desperate and enthusiastic about this. He took a step of faith, ran ahead, climbed the sycamore tree and strategically positioned himself. (The sycamore tree could be likened to unexpected opportunities that come our way over time. Sometimes, they appear ordinary). As a result of this, Zacchaeus got much more than he had bargained for! He did not only see Jesus, but Jesus saw him also! His enthusiasm caught the attention of Jesus, and he (Jesus) decided to break protocol! He suspended all other plans and went home with him! Halleluyah!
Dear friend, do you have great dreams, goals and desires? Do you feel limited by issues around you, and you are about to give all your dreams up? I encourage you to take your focus away from these limitations around you, and build a picture in your mind of what you desire. Then, identify your sycamore tree (opportunities that come your way) and jump on it! As you strategically position yourself with great enthusiasm, God will cause all things to work out for your good in Jesus name.